By sportswriter Zhang Rongfeng
NEW YORK, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese players come to a sudden brake in their NBA careers in the 2009-2010 season with the latest victim Yi Jianlian, New Jersey Nets forward, sprained right knee ligament on Monday.
Following the injury layoff of seven-time All-Star center Yao Ming, Yi, 22, was forced to halt his sparkling form in a 79-68 loss at Charlotte.
Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace fell and rolled into Yi's leg halfway into the third quarter, sending the Chinese 7-foot star to the floor. He was helped off the court without putting weight upon his injured leg.
MRI results showed Yi's injury to the extent that no timetable could be set for his return from knee injury.
Yi, having 17 points and 12 boards in season opener against Timberwolves, scored four points and grabbed six rebounds in the game for the Nets, who are off to a 0-4 start to the new NBA campaign.
"I fell on my knee and kind of twisted it a little bit," said Yi, who came to the Nets from Milwaukee in a trade last year.
The No. 1 Chinese player in NBA, Yao Ming's plight came much early, even threatening his career. He was originally sidelined during the playoffs on May 8th with a hairline fracture of his navicular, and had to sit out the whole season though there has been recently some optimism that Yao's foot has been recovering well.
There is a possibility that he could return to the Rockets late next season, but it's still a haunting concern for Yao's fans for he has been out portions of the last three seasons with stress fractures in leg and foot.
Yao can be probably enjoy his teammates playing on court as the Rockets grabbed three straight wins with a 3-1 season opening, but his eagerness to be back on court and fight for a ring is overwhelming.
Yao spearheaded Rockets' hard-fight triumph over defending champions Lakers in Staples Center in the first game of the semifinal playoff in Western Conference last season. His dedication to the game can be recognized from his reluctance to follow team doctor instruction back to locker and sticking to the game in spite of a heavy collision with Kobe Bryant.
Although with a championship ring in hand, Chinese 6.9-foot guard Sun Yue, 24, was sacked by New York Knicks recently after ending his bench life in Los Angeles Lakers, is waiting for a signing from NBA franchises and quite likely to return to his former club Beijing Aoshen.
NBA is striding towards internationalization, which lays out pre-season games in China for the last few years. So, keeping Chinese players on court matters for NBA promotion and financial returns.
Yao, Yi and Sun all played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in which China finished eighth.